Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Brass Pegasus by Keith Newstead now available

Keith Newstead made his first Pegasus automaton about 20 years ago. This, his latest creation, has been laser cut from his original artwork. Each one is signed and numbered and measures about 30cm high.

Here is where you can order your own Brass Pegasus by Keith Newstead.


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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Keith Newstead: profile of the artist and new blog

Kieth Newstead submarine automaton
There is a great profile of automata-maker Keith Newstead over at the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre site.

Also be sure to check out Keith Newstead's blog which he just recently started.


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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Sargent Paints Hemy automaton by Newstead

Take a look at the many subtle and organic motions in this fantastic automaton by Keith Newstead. There are some great views of the mechanism in the video also.

See more automata by Keith Newstead on his web site: www.keithnewsteadautomata.com


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Thursday, March 04, 2010

King Kong automaton by Keith Newstead

Here is a recently completed automaton by the ingenious Keith Newstead. This automaton is one of two made for a cruise liner. It is a wonderful example of organic motions created by using articulated joints within a figure.

See more automata by Keith Newstead on is web site.


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Friday, January 01, 2010

Mad God Universe - by Newstead & Steadman

Keith Newstead collaborated with the artist Ralph Steadman on this amazingly extensive and eccentric automaton.

From the YouTube description:
It was commissioned for an exhibition called 'Devious Devices' in 1990. It features God rising above storm clouds. Below the earth is supported on 4 elephants which in turn are supported by strange creatures. It was about 10 feet high and I have no idea where it is now.

See more automata by Keith Newstead on his web site.


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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Flying Couch Potato by Keith Newstead

Here is a piece that Keith Newstead made about 6 years ago. He just had it back in his possession in order motorized it and shot this video. He is a master at creating crazy flying contraptions!

See more automata by Keith Newstead on his web site.


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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Song for a Dead Moon - new look for an old theme

According to the artist -- Keith Newstead -- this is a steampunk version of a 19th century automata.

See more of his work at Keith Newstead's web site.


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Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Mobile toyshop by Keith Newstead Automata

A charming piece by Keith Newstead depicting a traveling toy shop. Enchanting.

See more of excellent automata on Keith Newstead's web site.


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Thursday, February 05, 2009

'Bird Catcher' automaton by Keith Newstead

Take a look at this great new version of Keith Newstead's 'Cat Copter' automaton.

There are some beautiful large images showing the lovely details in the 'Bird Catcher' on the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre web site.


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Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Steampunk Romance - video of the automaton

The other day I told you about A Steampunk Romance -- the new book by Keith Newstead. Here is a some video of the actual automaton he created and documented in the book. Wonderful! He is so good with metals and contraptions. I'm a big fan.


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Saturday, January 03, 2009

A Steampunk Romance book by Keith Newstead

A Steampunk Romance by Keith Newstead
The other day leading automata-maker Keith Newstead announced the creation of a book dedicated to describing in text and photographs his first foray into the Steampunk aesthetic.

This was fated to be a success from the start. Newstead is a talented automata maker in so many respects, but when he creates any type of transport or vehicle, he may be unequaled. The resulting automaton is a whirling, pumping, spinning, chugging, flapping, cranking wonder.

Check out the extensive preview of the book and think about buying A Steampunk Romance by Keith Newstead at Blurb.com.

[ Thanks Sergio! ]


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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Murophobia (fear of mice) by Keith Newstead

Keith Newstead is one of those automata artists I have admired for a long time. Take a look at this great new piece in which a cat's worst fears come true.

Not only is it wonderfully funny, but it is a great example of how a fairly simple motion --in the hands of a master -- can create a very complex effect.

See more of Keith Newstead's automata at keithnewsteadautomata.com


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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Flickr Set of Some Great Contemporary Automata

he Council Counsellor, by Paul Spooner and Matt SmithHere is a nice Flickr set of photographs of a nice private collection of contemporary automata. There are large photos of the pieces. Particularly well-represented are the artists Jan Zalud, Keith Newstead, and Paul Spooner/Matt Smith.

Shown here is The Council Counsellor, by Paul Spooner and Matt Smith of Fourteen Balls Toy.

Here is the link to the Flickr set of automata.

[ Thanks Steve! ]


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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Early Newstead Automaton: The Temple of Doom

Early Keith Newstead Automaton: The Temple of Doom
A dedicated reader of The Automata / Automaton Blog has been gracious enough to share with us here an automaton made by the talented UK-based artist Keith Newstead.

Entitled The Temple of Doom the piece is dated April, 1991.

The proud owner describes the automaton:
Basically it's a model of little church tower with a clean-cut kind of a guy pulling a bell-rope. Upon the first pull a little bell rings, but upon the second pull the roof of the tower lifts up to reveal a little red devil. The devil has a kind of inquisitive look about him as to if to say "who's that calling me?". After that, the roof shuts and the cycle is repeated.

Early Keith Newstead Automaton: The Temple of Doom
See more automata by Keith Newstead on his web site.

[ Thanks Frank! ]


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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Flying Mechanical Icarus Automaton at CMT

Flying Mechanical Icarus AutomatonCabaret Mechanical Theatre has announced the return of an old favorite from Keith Newstead, Icarus. The figure of Greek myth is in the process of flying too close to the bright brass sun.

As always, Keith Newstead's brasswork and figures are outstanding.

This piece measures 49cm high x 22cm wide x 25cm deep. A smaller version was popular back when CMT had a public museum/shop in Covent Garden, London.

Here's a link to Icarus automaton on the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre online shop.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Brassy Dragon Automaton by Keith Newstead

Keith Newstead's Brassy Dragon AutomatonTake a look at the beautiful metalwork in Keith Newstead's classic dragon automaton. The piece is available once again at the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre online store.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Automaton Building Video: How to Make Automata

Here is an instructional video on how to make wood automata by one of the UK's top automata artists, Keith Newstead. It is a very helpful video. My only regret is that it is not longer!

From the site:
Making automata is hard. It requires a wide range of construction skills and an understanding of certain mechanical and engineering principles...The first half of the tape is divided into the following sections: Levers, Cranks, Linkages, Cams, Shafts & Bearings, Ratchets, Gearing and Drives...The second part concentrates on some of the ways the mechanisms can be put together to make automata.

Here is the link to the video on How to Make Automata
Note: Those in the USA will want the NTSC version.

Here is a book that is also very good: Automata and Mechanical Toys.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Woodshop Specialtes: Wood Gears & Marionettes

Here's a book that at first glance might not seem to be of much use to automata-makers, but not so!

There are three sections of this book that are of particular interest to automata makers (and woodworkers in general).

First, there is section on wooden clockworks. This section may only be 8 pages, but it is almost the only 8 pages I've found on wooden gears and their construction. This includes tips on cutting wooden circles, making pin wheels and pinions, and cutting slots for toothed gears.

Second, there are two sections on the construction of wooden marionettes/dolls. Take a good look at the work of Paul Spooner/Matt Smith or Keith Newstead. I would be willing to bet that they studied puppet-making as some point. You can see that they understand the human form, joints, and how to make them from wood.

I have only covered three sections of this book; there are two dozen more on diverse woodworking topics. At this price, Woodshop Specialtiesis a great resource.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Great Review of CMT Exhibit with Photo Sets

Over at the Pixelsumo blog, the author has a great review of a visit to the newly opened Cabaret Mechanical Theatre exhibit at Kinetica Museum that I told you about here.

The post features links to a huge set of flickr photos of the show itself.

Check out this great review of the CMT show at Pixelsumo.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre at Kinetica Museum

If you can be or will be in the UK between April 6, 2007 and May 5, 2007 you must visit Kinetica Museum located at Old Spitalfields Market, London.

Kinetica will be hosting
a major retrospective show on Cabaret Mechanical Theatre which includes more than 80 automata and a number of previously unseen works.

The show will feature artists including: Ron Fuller, Arthur Ganson, Tim Hunkin, Will Jackson, Pierre Mayer, Keith Newstead, Paul Spooner, and Carlos Zapata. (Many of my favorite artists are in that list!)

The exhibition will also include a series of talks and hands-on workshops by the founders of CMT and prominent British automata artists. Speakers will include: Tim Hunkin, Sue Jackson, Sarah Alexander, Will Jackson and Paul Spooner.

Learn more at CMT's Mechanical Blog or visit Kinetica Museum's site



Cabaret Mechanical Theatre (CMT) dates back to 1979, when a handful of automaton artists began to work together as an artists collective.

The group, founded in 1983 in Falmouth by Sue Jackson, moved to London’s Covent Garden shortly thereafter, where their collection of automata immediately received both critical and popular acclaim.

They produced a book (shown at left) that teaches about basic mechanics and the construction of automata.

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